The Campaign Spot

Elections

The Jindal, McDonnell, and Ryan Bids That Almost Happened

Over on the NRO homepage, a what-might-have-been story: Some frustrated GOP consultants contemplated starting a long-shot effort to draft Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, or Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan into the presidential race, despite the trio’s repeated statements that they’re not interested in running for the office. Noting that Henry Cabot Lodge won the 1964 New Hampshire primary on a write-in bid (when Lodge was not a declared candidate), these veterans of past presidential campaigns wondered if a strong showing from a similar write-in effort might prompt one of those men to change his mind.

Unaffiliated GOP leaders were tempted by the idea, but were doubtful it would lead to anything constructive; a candidate who jumped in so late would not be able to win enough delegates to win the nomination, at least in states where there is still time to qualify for the ballot. A strong late entrant could probably lead to a divided convention, but could not win the nomination outright. In a primary campaign cycle that has seen high drama and plenty of twists and turns, a convention fight leading to the nomination of a figure who didn’t intend to run throughout 2011 might have been the biggest shock ending of all.

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